The Lord has pitilessly destroyed
all the homes of Jacob;
in his displeasure he has shattered
the strongholds of the daughter of Judah;
he has thrown to the ground,
he has left accursed the kingdom and its rulers.
Mutely they sit on the ground,
the elders of the daughter of Zion;
they have put dust on their heads,
and wrapped themselves in sackcloth.
The virgins of Jerusalem hang their heads
down to the ground.
My eyes wasted away with weeping,
my entrails shuddered,
my liver spilled on the ground
at the ruin of the daughters of my people,
as children, mere infants, fainted
in the squares of the Citadel.
They kept saying to their mothers,
‘Where is the bread?’
as they fainted like wounded men
in the squares of the City,
as they poured out their souls
on their mothers’ breasts.
How can I describe you, to what compare you,
daughter of Jerusalem?
Who can rescue and comfort you,
virgin daughter of Zion?
For huge as the sea is your affliction;
who can possibly cure you?
The visions your prophets had on your behalf
were delusive, tinsel things,
they never pointed out your sin,
to ward off your exile.
The visions they proffered you were false,
Cry aloud, then, to the Lord,
groan, daughter of Zion;
let your tears flow like a torrent,
day and night;
give yourself no relief,
grant your eyes no rest.
Up, cry out in the night-time,
in the early hours of darkness;
pour your heart out like water
before the Lord.
Stretch out your hands to him
for the lives of your children
who faint with hunger at the entrance to every street.
When Jesus went into Capernaum a centurion came up and pleaded with him. ‘Sir,’ he said ‘my servant is lying at home paralysed, and in great pain.’ ‘I will come myself and cure him’ said Jesus. The centurion replied, ‘Sir, I am not worthy to have you under my roof; just give the word and my servant will be cured. For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this he was astonished and said to those following him, ‘I tell you solemnly, nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this. And I tell you that many will come from east and west to take their places with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob at the feast in the kingdom of heaven; but the subjects of the kingdom will be turned out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’ And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go back, then; you have believed, so let this be done for you.’ And the servant was cured at that moment.
And going into Peter’s house Jesus found Peter’s mother-in-law in bed with fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
That evening they brought him many who were possessed by devils. He cast out the spirits with a word and cured all who were sick. This was to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah:
He took our sicknesses away and carried our diseases for us.
“He took our sicknesses away and carried our diseases for us”
A very good friend of mine was talking with me about his illness; he had been diagnosed with terminal illness. One of the things we had discussed was what he should be asking of God: His Will or His Healing?
For me, I have always prefixed my healing petitions, or any petition for that matter, with the words, “Father, if it is Your Will, please…”, and then attach my petition. In the midst of it all, however, we tend to forget that our Lord Jesus is also known as the Great Physician.
Today’s gospel reminds us that we should always turn to Him to ask for healing. The words that strike me in the gospel today is “You have believed, so let this be done for you”. When we ask for healing, we tend to do so in our prayers but many of us tend to lack the belief and conviction.
There was a story of a great famine and the decision was to gather all the people to pray to God for rain. The villagers all gathered and were prepared to begin their prayers. Just as they were about to begin their prayers, they saw a little girl scurrying to the front. Breathless, the little girl opened her umbrella. Annoyed at the delay in the proceedings, the village head chided the little girl, “Why are you bringing your umbrella little girl? There is no need for an umbrella now and you have caused everyone to be late”.
The little girl looked at the Village Head in his eyes and said gently: “I believe in God, so I have brought my umbrella for when the rain begins to fall”.
Do we have faith like the centurion in today’s gospel and the little girl in the story? Do we bring our umbrellas along when we ask for rain?
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer – Father, please give us, Your children, faith like little children. Help us to have faith even when things seem insurmountable. Let us have the strong belief in You my Lord.
Thanksgiving – Jesus Lord, You are our Great Physician. Thank You for bearing our pain and for healing in our physical and spiritual illness. Thank You for giving us the gift of faith.